DNA ties man to 2011 murders of two women found alongside LA freeways

- A 32-year-old man suspected of raping and killing a teenage girl and a young woman six years ago was charged on Tuesday with capital murder, with police saying they cracked the case by using a familial DNA test and secretly collecting the suspect's spit from a sidewalk.

Geovanni Borjas was arrested Thursday at his home in Torrance, Los Angeles police Chief Charlie Beck said. Borjas was charged Tuesday with two counts each of murder and forcible rape, along with a single count of
kidnapping.

The charges include the special circumstance allegations of multiple murders and murder during commission of a rape and a kidnapping. The allegations make Borjas eligible for the death penalty, but prosecutors have
not yet decided if they will seek a death sentence.

Borjas pleaded not guilty, and is due back in court June 22, when a date will be set for a hearing to determine if there is enough evidence for him to stand trial. He remains jailed without bail.

Borjas is suspected in the slayings of 17-year-old Michelle Lozano and 22-year-old Bree'Anna Guzman.

The teen's body was found about 11:40 p.m. April 25, 2011, dumped along the Golden State (5) Freeway near State Street in Boyle Heights.

Police said the body had been wrapped in plastic bags, put in a plastic container and dumped over a masonry barrier along the freeway, and when the container hit the ground, it broke open.

Guzman's body was found about 9 a.m. Jan. 26, 2012, near the Riverside Drive onramp to the southbound Glendale (2) Freeway in the Silver Lake area. The body was partially clothed and apparently was dumped at the location, police said.

Guzman had been reported missing a month earlier. She left her home in Lincoln Heights on the day after Christmas to go to a store, but never returned.

Beck said both victims had been sexually assaulted.

At the time, police had initially said they did not believe the two killings were related. However, Beck said detectives were eventually able to connect the crimes, and once that was done, police requested permission from the state Attorney General's Office to perform a familial DNA search.

"After the familial search a person was identified as a contributory match to the suspect," Beck said. "That individual was suspect's father, who was arrested on a non-sexual-assault-type crime earlier in his life."

After conducting further information into the father's background, detectives "identified a family member who they thought possibly could be the suspect involved in these (crimes) and they collected a surreptitious DNA
sample," Beck said. "They did this by following the individual. During that following, he spit on the sidewalk. Detectives collected that and the DNA was a match. It was a match to both of these murders."

Beck declined to elaborate on a possible motive for the killings or a link between Borjas and the victims.

The grieving father of Bree'Anna Guzman took to the podium fighting back tears as he thanked the LAPD for catching his daughter's killer.

"I'd like to thank the LAPD for all the efforts they did to catch this monster and get him off the street." said Richard Guzman.

"Justice will be served...and that's all I've been searching for for the past five six years." Said Darlene Duran, Bree'Anna's Mother. 

Mayor Eric Garcetti hailed the detective work that led to the arrest, calling the victims "two innocent women who had their whole lives ahead of them." He said the families and friends of the victims "are finally within reach of some of the justice that they and this city deserve."

According to Beck, the case marks only the second time police have relied on a familial DNA search, which can narrow the search for a suspect to a particular family and point detectives to suspects whose DNA is not yet in a
database. Beck noted that Borjas' DNA was not in any existing database prior to his arrest.

The only other case in which the LAPD used familial DNA was the Grim Sleeper serial-killer case, in which detectives used a discarded pizza crust to collect DNA linking the killings to Lonnie David Franklin Jr., who was
convicted and sentenced to death in 2016.

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